Monday, December 22, 2008

The First Day of Winter

So I woke up yesterday and my apartment was 53F. I had made it to the first day of winter and I still hadn't reached 49F. As I stood next to my thermostat I spent some time wondering if my apartment was capable of reaching 49F. If I left the heat off all winter would I stay in the 50s even the 60s? After all it was 2F outside right that second with a wind-chill of something crazy like -30. I stood there thinking of the wonder of being able to afford my nonexistent heating bill and the power of only using the passive solar heat and knitted wool for the whole winter or even just to January 1st. Then I flipped on the heat and took my first comfortable shower in months.

Here is to turning it back off on the first day of spring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Really Cold Changes Every Day

When I first started this I was just going for the month of October, the same as every year. November started out warm so I kept going. Then it snowed but my apartment was still warm enough. I started out saying "the day it hits 58F inside I'm turning on the heat." That day came but the next day was going to be in the 70s again. I can take 58 if the next day is to be hot. This happened more than once. So soon instead of hitting 58 it was 57 and finally it became "I'm not turning on the heat until the first day of winter."

Well, it is 55F in the apartment today as it snows and snows outside. Well, Joey let me tell you we are going to make it until the first day of winter or until the house hits 49F. That is what really cold means. I'm sorry that Sumi-e is hogging your heater and won't share.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


It's snowing and the sweater yarn I bought for staying warm this winter isn't finished yet. It's Cascade Eco. I'm in love with this yarn. So thick and the stitches just float on the needles.
This is one ball worth of yarn. Nice. I think it's half of a sweater.
Those photos are a bit miss leading haven been taken over Thanksgiving. A bit of a blast from the past.
This photo is of today.

I wish Joey would use his heater more. And that my sweater was finished.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I saw Joey on his heater...

He's finally caved and curled up on the heater as I left the apartment this morning. That could say something about the temperature in the place.

Oh, and he stands next to his sweater basket with sad eyes until I put on one him. Too bad it's not safe to leave him home alone in a sweater.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


psssst, it's joey here and i want to point out that it's mid november and my sherri still hasn't turned on the heat. oh, she says it's ok because she bought me a heater.well, let me tell you about that heater. i don't like it. not one bit. here, i drew you a picture. she has tainted my chair. since it is my chair and the only thing that is mine i still use it. but i have to squeeze myself into the far corner to keep from touching the evil thing. it is very hard on me to only have a small corner of my chair. i do sit and shiver and give my sherri the evil eye and chatter my teeth. still she is hard hearted and shows me the thermostat and says even if the heat was on the place wouldn't be any warmer. and how i should know that in the past, before knitting, we only heated to 64...look at that. i am just sure that is a killing temperature. and it's only going to get worse. my sherri bought yarn. she said for when it really gets cold.

really cold? what does she mean?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Today I Made History

and a nice long line with lots of people wanting to talk about the sock I was knitting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What October Means to Me

For many October means football, Halloween decorating, or Sunday drives to look at the falling leaves. Not for me. For me October means righteous self discipline and personal suffering. For years now, at least 8 of them, on October first I turn off the AC and I don't turn on the heat until November 1st. I do the same in April. Although in April I have been know to cave and turn on the AC as my birthday present to me. But not October. October I can hang tough.So why do I do this? I could say it's because I enjoy breathing the fresh air from the open windows I don't experience the rest of the year in a closed up house, because I do. I could say I'm saving the environment, because I am. But I do it for a different kind of savings. A more personal one. But not running the AC or the Heat I cut my electric bill by 80%. Do you know how much 80% is? That's two sweaters worth of yarn.
This year I bought my little Joey an electric heating pad. I am ready to take this as far as I can, to go as long as I can. We have wool. We are ready. We can take it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Haven't Given Up (although signs say I should)

I'm still knitting on the Blue Gansey although things are stacked against me and this knit. One ball finished the front and back yoke and a nice rolled collar. That left me with 2 balls of yarn. One for each sleeve. That actualy gave me hope since they are nice big balls. Each ball knitted 4 inches of the sweater body. That's a lot of sweater body but there is a lot of sleeve to knit too. Looking at it that way one ball of yarn a sleeve is very little.

So I started the first sleeve knowing it would be close, but feeling good about my chances of not having a short sleeved sweater. But this yarn wasn't done with me yet. The ball is moth eaten. 2 inches down the sleeve and I already have 6 joins.

And before I am judged for having moths I will admit in my early spinning days years and years ago I did have moths, twice. But I have learned. And this yarn went through a lot before entering my stash. A closing yarn store. A few attics before mine. I feel confident that the yarn wasn't damaged in my care. Still, I am not pleased to be knitting with weak and breaking yarn. I do believe I am knitting an overly large, short sleeved, weak and breaking sweater. I just can't stop even though I know I should. Go back and look at the charming pattern. I am in love with the pattern.

Or look at a nice well behaved knit instead. Oak Ribbed Socks by Nancy Bush knit in Koigu.

Mmmm Koigu.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Deja view

A new sweater.

A charming knit.

Nice smooth yarn with crisp stitch definition that almost knits its self.

Gauge is off half a stitch an inch.

The sweater is huge.

I'm running short of yarn.

7 balls should have knitted the whole thing. I just finished ball 7 and I still have half a yoke and 2 sleeves left.

I only have 3 balls of yarn left.

But I'm wearing a shirt. Any day with a top is a good day. Yes, I saw YH this week.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Time Out

I have split for the armholes and am knitting the back yoke. I have 3 balls left. Out of 10. Only 3. I still have 1/2 a back yoke, 2 front yokes, and 2 sleeves. I don't think it's going to be enough.

The pattern said I would need 7 balls for my size. My gauge is right but the sweater is looking too big. Probably where the extra yarn is going. I am torn between finishing the last 3 balls and seeing if a miracle happens or throwing the whole thing in the trash. Instead, I think it will go back into time out. It's time to cast on a nice well behaved sweater in easy to knit yarn.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Using the Yarn a Pattern Calls For

I have had this blue mohair for years. I won it as a door Prize from Thread Bear when they opened their doors in Indiana way back in 2003? 2004? It’s 10 balls of Classic Elite. I started knitting a bottom up raglan but wasn’t happy with the color, the drape, the size, the feel, pretty much everything about that sweater wasn’t right. It’s no wonder after I started in on the second ball I put it away in the UFO drawer.

I finally decided it had to go. I would offer it up at the next Shop and Swap at the fiber guild. It wasn’t long after deciding that I found an acceptable pattern in an old issue of IK. Broken Ribs and Bobbles in Fall 2000. That would be the very first issue of IK that I bought since that’s when I learned to knit. The sweater isn’t a current style but it’s fun and funky enough that I’ll wear it and it uses Elite La Gran Mohair. I never get to knit a sweater in the called for yarn. I decided to use that yarn after all.

It’s turning out nice. That is after a little gauge problem that caused me to start over and to pick a different size too. I now think it’s going well. With the second go I left out the purl ridge on the bottom. I wasn’t pleased with how it looked. I think I will leave it on the sleeves but it was just too much at the bottom of the sweater. Too much ‘look at the big purl band around my butt’. Seeing as how I can’t see the band in any of the photos I suspect it didn’t look good on the models. And if a photo stylist can’t make it look good on a model then there is no way it will look good on me in the real world.

With the second casting on I also decided to knit it all in one piece to the arm holes so I wouldn’t have to deal with seaming but mostly because I couldn’t stand the thought of knitting two fronts after the back. The texture is pretty but knitting it is about as exciting as washing dishes. Watching paint dry is more fun.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Too Much Rain

I have been waiting for 2 weeks for it to stop raining and the sun to come out so I could take a photo. I finally settled for stop raining with no sun. Here are the socks I tucked in the ends at my last knitting morning. Tuesday mornings my LYS has coffee and muffins and unlocks the doors before the shop opens so we can gather and knit. I save that time for the tucking in ends, a job that I dread.

Arrow Lace Socks knitted back in July just hit their turn to be finished.Knit in Trekking XXL on size 000 needles. I Love the orange/purplelybrown combination.

Yarrow Ribbed Socks from the book Knitting Vintage Socks. I started these back in February but they were pushed aside for something more interesting. I picked them up and finished the knitting while waiting for the Olympics to start.
Knit in Regia Cotton Surf on size 000 needles.

Plain ribbed socks that I cast on during the Olympics. I needed something small and portable to take to a party and while the baby sweaters were small they were not portable or easy enough for sitting around outside in the dark in front of a fire.
ONline Supersocke 100 Cotton, Summer-Color knit on size 000.

I think they look like strawberries.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Podium

I fell behind, but that's in the posting not in the Olympic knitting.

Look a gold metal, 4 of them.

Ziggy in Mission Falls Cotton. Done. I love it. Look at the buttons, love them too.
The pattern was well written, fast, and easy. However, it is written for fat babies. I ended up knitting the size 12 month size but making it size 24 length. It looks better that way. I hope it fits better that way too.

Ribbed Baby Sweater is done. I love it and I love the button too. It was a good day for buttons.
Debbi Bliss is well known for writing patterns for very fat babies. Some say it's so she can sell more yarn. I don't know. I do know I knitted an aran weight pattern in a light worsted weight Cotton Fleece and I think it's big enough for a new born to 3 months. It's hard to tell, but it sure is cute.
The 5HBS. I love the 5HBS. Knitted in Caron Simply Soft.

Peaches knitted in Knit Picks CotLin.
Love the clasp. Super love it. The pattern was just a guide line so I used it as a jumping off point and knitted my own design. Size is large. A dress for a chubby 2 year old or a shrug for a thin 6 year old. It used less than 2 balls of yarn. Very nice.

Kipling never made it. I knitted this much on the very first day. Then I ran out of yarn in that ball. I never even wound the second ball. Yarn is Classy by Dreams in Color. Love the Yarn.

I should pick it up and finish since there is only a few hours of knitting left but I am done with baby sweaters for a while. Last night I cast on socks. Ok, ok not just last night. I also cast on socks during the Olympics. I just need to get a photo of them.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 12

and I've dropped the batton, tripped over a hurdle, did not knit for 4 days. Not a stitch.

However, squash blossoms sauteed in butter with fresh oregano taste even better than I could imagine. and I watched a world record get set.

So they were 4 days of fun. Now back to the knitting.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 5

The Olympic baby sweaters are coming along

It turns out I am in love with CotLin by knit picks. I find the quality of their yarn to be hit or miss. This one was hit right out of the ball park. So silky, so machine washable, so light, I'll be making more baby sweaters out of it.

I am very pleased with this sweater vest too. It only takes 2 balls of Mission Falls cotton, my very favorite cotton yarn, and a touch of a third color. The pattern said I would need 2 balls of each color so I picked 2 colors I had several balls of. It turns out the other 2 balls are for the matching hat. I missed my chance to use up some of my single balls. However, I like it so much I will knit it again.

Lookie at that, a female squash blossom. My first squash.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Funnel Cakes

It's time for the county fair.

My favorite is the rabbits....

...the chickens...

... and the horses.
As a child I was active in 4H and I spent the whole week running from event to event. There would barely be time to change my cloths from washing my calf in time to show my dog. Then hand off the dog to Dad and rush to the cookie judging. After cookies I would rush my horse into the ring. It was hectic, it was wonderful, it was too much, but I wouldn't trade that time for anything or enter fewer events either.

Since then going to the fair has been more sedate. It a day to pet rabbits and to look at the things the children are doing now, nothing more. However, this year I had pressure from all sides to enter my work in the open class. So I did.

Yarn spun from the wool of a shetland fleece grown by a local farmer.

Mittens knitted from my multicolored multifiber handspun yarn. The easiest thing I made. Even if I did dye the fiber and spin the yarn myself. But easy doesn't mean bad. They are like 2 little watercolor painting. Crop top sweater of my own design knitted from my handspun wool/silk yarn and trimmed with a understated crochet edging of silk. It not only won blue but some rosewood needles too. Yummy rosewood needles just right for lace. I'll post a better photo of the sweater when I have one.
My only disappointment. This sweater knitted from a wool/hemp hand dyed yarn that I bought directly from the dyer is an original design that fits me to a T because it had front and back darts. Darts are hard. Mine are stunning. Of everything I entered this is the only one I am proud of. I worked very hard on it. It is perfection. However this sweater was beat out by a lace christening gown and a knitted suit so it didn't do too bad.
A baby hat with attached scarf. More photos here. Not everything of mine received a ribbon. Ironically they photographed the best.

A lace scarf. I messed up 3 times knitting it and that really shows in lace. I knew it going in but thought there wouldn't be stiff competition at the fair. There was. I'm glad it didn't win. I'm glad there was better lace there.

And this scarf also didn't receive a ribbon. My blocking was shoddy and the edges rolled under. I thought long and hard about steaming it. I have a steamer for just that. It is very easy to use. I thought and thought about pulling it out and steaming it. It only takes 3 minuets. I did not. Maybe it still wouldn't have gotten a ribbon if it had been steamed but it would have helped.

Finally, in my bag at pick up bag clear down at the bottom I found these...

size 17 ebony needles. I have always wanted ebony needles. I think they were placed in the bag because I volunteered for a shift at the fair. I spent saturday in the fiber arts building spinning. It was supposed to be a 4 hours shift but so many people were stopping to talk and ask questions I was there for over 7 hours. I think that's why the needles are there. Or it goes with one of the blue ribbons. Either way I have always wanted ebony needles.